What do Adam Levine, Justin Timberlake and Michael Phelps have in common? They all have ADHD. What else might they have in common? It’s possible their moms took acetaminophen while pregnant. Around 65% of expectant moms do, since they’re (rightly) steered away from ibuprofen and aspirin.

But wait before you take acetaminophen! A new study published in JAMA Psychiatry found a strong association between fetal exposure to acetaminophen and a “significantly increased risk of childhood ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) and ASD (autism spectrum disorder).” The more acetaminophen a mom-to-be takes, the greater risk of harm to her developing fetus.

Scientists analyzed umbilical cord samples from 996 mothers in the Boston Birth Cohort who delivered single live births from Oct. 1, 1998 to around a decade later. They identified those in which cord plasma acetaminophen metabolites were present and then examined data on their offspring at age 9.8. An astounding 25.8% (that’s 257 children) had diagnosed ADHD; 6.6% or 66 had ASD; and 30.5% or 304 kids had other developmental disabilities.

So remember, moms-to-be, any medication/drug/supplement may adversely affect your growing fetus and your future child’s health. As we recommend in our book “YOU: Having a Baby,” before you take anything, talk to your OB/GYN about your medications, plus chemicals you might be exposed to at work. Avoid the chemicals in manicures, pedicures and hair dyes. Tip: Aromatherapy reduces pain and nausea in pregnancy and has not been associated with maternal or childhood problems.

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